REVIEW: Gerard Way – ‘Hesitant Alien’

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Artist: Gerard Way
Album: Hesitant Alien
Genre: Brit-Pop / Shoegaze
Label: Reprise Records

For certain people, there are always going to be artists who they check out no matter what type of project their name is attached to. For myself, Gerard Way is a name that I’m always going to pay attention to, no matter if he’s making music under My Chemical Romance, drawing something for DC Comics, or in this specific review’s case, making a Brit-Pop record. Here’s the thing: I’m not a huge Brit-Pop fan. It’s never been a genre that I’ve ever latched onto for whatever reason, but because it’s Gerard Way, I decided to give Hesitant Alien a listen. Does that make me a fanboy? Probably. But I went into this record with really no expectations, and I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised with how much enjoyment I got out of it.

First and foremost, Hesitant Alien isn’t a My Chemical Romance record, but it’s definitely something fans of the band can get into. This record has songs that will get you off your feet to dance, and not in the moshing Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge kind of way. Every track on the record has tons of layers of synths, guitars, drums and other samples that create a very unique sound that draws you in. From the more punk rock inspired “Action Cat,” to poppy “Millions,” Hesitant Alien shows what Gerard Way is capable as an artist, not just a vocalist. If you had to compare this record to anything that My Chemical Romance did, it obviously is more of a continuation of Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, but it still feels uniquely its own. “How It’s Going to Be” is sonically one of the biggest songs Gerard Way has ever been a part of, and amazingly sounds nothing like anything he’s ever put out. Now, I can’t say how this record sounds in relation to other Brit-Pop records, because I would not try to fake that I have a wealth of knowledge about the genre. That being said, Gerard Way feels like he’s right at home in his new bright blue suit. Usually when artists do solo records, they’re tired attempts at “reinventing” themselves, or they make lame attempts at holding on to fading popularity. Way never feels anything less than authentic, and that’s a welcome change of pace.

Lyrically, Hesitant Alien is the Gerard Way you know and love. I’ve always been in love with the way Gerard can turn a phrase and really draw you into the artistic space that the record is fostering, and with Hesitant Alien he does exactly that. While the lyrics aren’t necessarily as visceral as when Way fronted My Chemical Romance, the words definitely fit the style. Hesitant Alien understandably has a very outer space vibe throughout the record, and it’s just plain fun. Songs like “Get the Gang Together” is a rally cry to keep your sanity in one piece, which is an all too familiar subject for fans of Way. All that being said, some songs don’t necessarily feel as strong as others. Songs like “Juarez” and “Maya the Psychic” just don’t have the same punch as the rest of the tracks, and it’s hard for me to decipher why. There will definitely be a few tracks that I’ll probably skip as time goes by on this record, but as a whole effort, Hesitant Alien feels like a triumph.

Unlike the title suggests Hesitant Alien is an incredibly bold and confident record that shows that Gerard Way does not want to be boxed into My Chemical Romance’s angsty corner. He is not as moody and nihilistic as we were once accustomed to. If Hesitant Alien suggests anything, it’s that the man is happy, and he’s enjoying his newfound creative freedom. It’s this happiness that bleeds throughout the record, and you can’t help but feel it in each and every track. For that reason alone, Hesitant Alien is a necessary listen for any fan of the genre, or the artist.

SCORE: 7.5/10
Review written by Tyler Osborne

Tyler Osborne

Live in DC, grew up in PA. I specialize in writing, filming and taking pictures about punk, pop-punk, and hardcore music, and I also have a huge background in film as well. When not on the site, i'm running my own internet radio show, ToZ's Edge Radio (www.facebook.com/tozedgeradio). I also love stage diving and goldfish.
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